Try to Keep Up

Observations on the changing communications field from Bridget Nelson Monroe, a journalist turned digital strategist.
Recent Tweets @BridgetMonroe

mentalflossr:

Before Google launched Gmail, “G-Mail” was the name of a free email service Garfield’s website offered to fans of the lasagna-loving cat.

boston:

Release of 1940 census data a trove for genealogists

- The National Archives put a database online that represents its largest collection of digital information ever released.

Ira Glass doling out some good advice for creative folks.

fastcompany:

Sometime soon, Pinterest will expand the number of things users can pin, including videos from Hulu, Vimeo, and Netflix. “Driving traffic out is really fundamental for us,” he said. “The mission of Pinterest is not to keep people on the site forever. It’s to get people out and to find those objects.”

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann Shows Off New Profile, New Social Tools, Addresses Controversy

(via prweek)

futurejournalismproject:

After 244 Years, Encyclopaedia Britannica Stops the Presses

From the NY Times:

After 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is going out of print.

Those coolly authoritative, gold-lettered sets of reference books that were once sold door to door by a fleet of traveling salesmen and displayed as proud fixtures in American homes will be discontinued, the company is expected to announce on Wednesday.

In a nod to the realities of the digital age — and, in particular, the competition from the hugely popular Wikipedia — Encyclopaedia Britannica will focus primarily on its online encyclopedias and educational curriculum for schools, company executives said.

The last edition of the encyclopedia will be the 2010 edition, a 32-volume set that weighs in at 129 pounds and includes new entries on global warming and the Human Genome Project.

“It’s a rite of passage in this new era,” Jorge Cauz, the president of Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., a Chicago-based company, said in an interview. “Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. The Web site is continuously updated, it’s much more expansive and it has multimedia.”

theatlantic:

What Do Fact-Checkers and Anesthesiologists Have In Common?

What’s most interesting about fact checkers is the circumstances they work under and the traits they must possess to perform their job. Generally speaking, fact checking is a largely thankless job where the person is invisible if he does his job perfectly and is only noticed for his work when things go wrong. He must work confidently, meticulously, and take accuracy as its own reward. If he makes an error the stakes can be enormous—a loss of his job, a lawsuit, the damaged reputation of a writer, editors, and a publication. He will receive no byline. This requires essentially a reverse skill set, hell, a reverse attitude about life in a culture that seeks endless pats on the back, where everyone in Little League gets a trophy—even the backup right fielder on the last place team. Where we collectively are in a mad panic to have our thoughts and actions known via lengthy blog posts, and in nugget form on Facebook and Twitter, our every mediocre photo shared on Flickr. Where we are willing to debase ourselves to have our personal dramas on reality TV. Where ads are increasingly tailored to us specifically (thanks to all those aforementioned Facebook posts). The American ethos screams YOU, the individual, are important, you must be counted, you must make yourself noticed! What type of person, in a society with these values, goes the other way and chooses anonymity?

It turns out, the lonely, lowly fact checker, is in actuality not so lonely. There is a commonality of his circumstance and traits among a select group of other professionals, a collective I call The Invisibles, and we as a culture can learn from this unique group.

Read more. [Image: Shutterstock]

"And when you read a great magazine article, take a moment and think of the fact checker." YES! - Signed, a former magazine fact checker

Ms. Bennett, when asked what statement Tumblr was making by bringing her and Mr. Mohney on board, said, “Tumblr is basically hiring a staff to celebrate creativity and innovation. How many companies can say that?

Tumblr Hires Writers to Cover Itself - NYTimes.com (via apsies)

Yay! This is an exciting new development.

“Basically, if Tumblr were a city of 42 million,” Ms. Bennett said, referring to the number of Tumblr blogs that exist, “I’m trying to figure out how we cover the ideas, themes and people who live in it.”

congrats to Ms. Bennett and Mr. Mohney

(via discoverynews)

(via discoverynews)

#PR101 Attention to detail is EVERYTHING. The wrong colored binder clip can destroy your presentation. You know what they say about first impressions…

(via dknyprgirl)

I agree that attention to detail is everything. But I’d like some real-life examples of wrong-colored binder clips DESTROYING presentations. I’m quite curious now :)

futurejournalismproject:

Writing Tips by Henry Miller, Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman & George Orwell

Henry Miller (from Henry Miller on Writing)

1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to “Black Spring.”
3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
4. Work according to the program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
5. When you can’t create you can work.
6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
7. Keep human! See people; go places, drink if you feel like it.
8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
9. Discard the Program when you feel like it–but go back to it the next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

George Orwell (From Why I Write)

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Margaret Atwood (originally appeared in The Guardian)

1. Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.
2. If both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type.
3. Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.
4. If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick.
5. Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
6. Hold the reader’s attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don’t know who the reader is, so it’s like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What ­fascinates A will bore the pants off B.
7. You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.
8. You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a ­romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.
9. Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.
10. Prayer might work. Or reading ­something else. Or a constant visual­isation of the holy grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book.

Neil Gaiman (read his free short stories here)

1. Write.
2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
7. Laugh at your own jokes.
8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

Check out the rest of the authors’ advice at OpenCulture

(via futurejournalismproject)

Just something that popped into my head at a meeting last night. Are we we entering an era in which Instagram and Pinterest are becoming wildly popular for the simple fact that they lack words and the effort that it takes to read those words?

Yes, visuals have always been vital in modern-day advertising and marketing. If I’ve learned anything fromMad Men, it’s that creating a beautiful illusion and pairing it with a stellar tagline was the key to massive success back in the day. Now, we don’t even need the tagline.

Do I think that words are going away and people will stop reading? No. I still think businesses are publishers, whether they like it or not. But are businesses now both publishers andart curators?